A parachute demo for a Washington Nationals baseball game prompted a brief evacuation of the Capitol, a new report says

A parachute demo for a Washington Nationals baseball game prompted a brief evacuation of the Capitol, a new report says
A view of the US Capitol at sunset on January 5, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • The Capitol was evacuated Wednesday evening, citing an aircraft that was deemed "probable threat."
  • USCP later said there is "no threat" and that the evacuation was "out of an abundance of caution."

A parachute demo into Nationals Park for a baseball pregame demonstration prompted a brief evacuation of the US Capitol Wednesday evening, the Associated Press reported.

In an email to press, the US Capitol police initially said they were "tracking an aircraft that poses a probable threat to the Capitol Complex" and issued an evacuation of the area around 6:30 p.m.

Following the alert, the USCP later said there is "no threat at the Capitol" after the complex was evacuated. Punchbowl's Heather Caygle reported the evacuation was prompted after a small plane failed to respond to communication.

"The Capitol was evacuated out of an abundance of caution this evening," the USCP said in a statement. "There is no threat at the Capitol."

CNN's Mike Valerio first reported that it was a single-engine aircraft carrying parachutists over Nationals Park, per two people familiar with the matter. The flyover was "not coordinated appropriately," according to Valerio.


The plane, which took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, was carrying members of the Golden Knights, the US Army's official aerial parachute demonstration team, who were performing a pregame demo at Nationals Park, which is a little over a mile away from the Capitol, the AP reported. It had been circling inside restricted airspace near the Capitol, prompting the evacuation alert.

"Radar tracking data shows the plane, a De Havilland Twin Otter, remained clear of the prohibited airspace over the Capitol Building and other government complexes at all times," according to the AP report. "Air traffic control recordings capture the army plane coordinating its flight with the control tower at nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport."

Investigators are still looking into why the demo wasn't properly coordinated prior to the event.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to notify the USCP of the pre-planned flyover of the stadium, saying the incident caused "unnecessary panic" for lawmakers and staff "still grappling with the trauma" of the January 6, 2021, attack.

"The Federal Aviation Administration's apparent failure to notify Capitol Police of the pre-planned flyover Nationals Stadium is outrageous and inexcusable," Pelosi said in a statement. "The unnecessary panic caused by this apparent negligence was particularly harmful for Members, staff and institutional workers still grappling with the trauma of the attack on their workplace on January 6th."


"Congress looks forward to reviewing the results of a thorough after-action review that determines what precisely went wrong today and who at the Federal Aviation Administration will be held accountable for this outrageous and frightening mistake," she added.

Representatives from the USCP did not immediately respond to Insider's request for more details on the incident.